Solar panels help church reduce energy consumption and bills

The biggest slice of the funding went on solar panels which church leaders say have shaved about £200 a month off the cost of energy for the building, and there are plans to sell excess electricity to the grid.

The grant also went towards activities showing how simple changes can make a significant difference to a household’s energy consumption.

And it funded solar power banks, hot water dispensers which boil only what is needed and are safe to use, and draught excluders for a number of residents.

Anne-Marie Parkin, a Community Investment Coordinator at believe housing, said: “The church is always bustling with activities which hundreds of people from Willington and the surrounding area, including our customers, access regularly.

“By enabling the church to generate renewable energy and save on its electricity bills we’re helping it to maintain services for the community and protect the planet.

“The project is also supporting our customers and other residents in many ways so they can make greener choices, save money and boost their overall wellbeing.”

Church trustee, Sue Hine, said: “It’s about sustainability at the end of the day.

“Like everyone, we’ve seen energy bills rise but the solar panels are making a significant difference to our running costs which helps us to sustain our activities for the community into the future.

“Generating renewable energy is also better for the planet.”

The housing association has awarded numerous grants to the church since 2018.

The first helped it to establish Our Confident Community, an ongoing project supporting vulnerable people with a foodbank, crisis support, volunteering opportunities, services for older people, and holiday activities for families.

The church also has a community café serving affordable meals and hot drinks and runs a gardening group.

Katrina Stephenson, Our Confident Community Coordinator and Elderly Support Worker, said: “The smaller, practical tips or items we can give people can make a real difference to people’s lives, making life easier at home and helping them save money without even realising.”

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The Northern Echo | Business News